February 8, 2023
Raise your hand if your sales team still relies on spreadsheets to organize tasks, treating CRMs like glorified Rolodexes, and tracking changes to a client’s buying pattern from memory. You’re not alone. Too many distributors are in the stone ages regarding their sales process, says Chris Van Ittersum, CEO of SupplyMover, a cloud-based distribution software platform. By failing to address these productivity issues, distributors also signal to the next generation of superstar sales personnel that a competitor can better meet their desire for tech-driven support. Jason chatted with Chris about empowering sales teams and optimizing the client relationship via a single (and simple) data-driven management solution.
“Of all the conversations we have with distributors, there are very few––maybe two or three out of hundreds of hundreds of companies that we've talked to––that have ever considered putting in front of their sales team anything that looks like the past product history of what their customers are buying as a paramount part of the conversation. And the reason is they cannot get that data in time for that call.” Chris’ frustration is palpable. How can distributors thrive if they’re unwilling to retire legacy management systems that Chris says have already failed them on both the customer and employee sides? “There has to be a paradigm shift.”
Wholesale change isn’t as scary or unobtainable as it may seem. Deploying a modern sales management system can revitalize a veteran sales professional’s approach as much as it can attract younger tech-savvy talent to the pool. “[Initially] everyone views a sales management system as, like, Big Brother: I'm just gonna put all my information in here, and it’ll be used against me, it's gonna be used to micromanage me,” Chris says, adding that surveillance isn’t the goal at SupplyMover. Instead, the platform creates efficiencies that translate into a healthier bottom line. Chris points out that sales teams using SupplyMover save up to two hours a day of busy work. That’s a 25% lift in productivity, all because the team has immediate access to valuable, real-time relationship intel. “All the opportunities are right there in front of them,” he says. “And we're really excited to be able to do that for folks.”
“If they don't have systems in place to help them succeed, they'll go somewhere where they can, and that's just the fact of the matter.”
“The way we view things is, if the system actually makes the person's job more efficient, more effective, if they can be better at their job with it than they were without it, then they will like it––even, and this is true, even if the person hates technology.”
“It's really a lot to keep on top of, and so, it's no surprise that only a couple people out of a whole team will be doing well when they're not armed with anything that's gonna help them do that job.”
“How much money is left on the table because nobody ever bothered to check what this customer orders on a repeat basis and just mention it, just talk about these things?”
“You can't rely on Rain Man to guide your sales team; not everyone has that skill set.
“Use the data to understand what to talk to this customer about.”
“When we talk about just growing your base, growing your current customers, you know, in deepening the relationship that you have with them, your approach can't be, “Let me just talk to you about whatever's on promo right now.”
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: Connected Peers providing virtual communities for wholesale distributors.